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Bernadette Mayer class on experimental writing techniques, June, 1978.

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Bernadette Mayer class on experimental writing techniques, June, 1978.


Published June 22, 1978


First half of a Bernadette Mayer class on experimental techniques in writing and other arts. She reads some of the writing of Tristan Tzara, Antonin Artaud, Eric Satie, Gertrude Stein, and others, and discusses Dada, the unconscious, cut-ups, and sentence structure. (Continues on 78P082)


Run time 1:25:12
Label / Recorded by Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

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Reviews

Reviewer: thewordman - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 11, 2006
Subject: Mayer Holds Her Own with Confused? Bored? Annoyed? Class
Bernadette Mayer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernadette_Mayer) presents a thoughtful overview of the Dada movement and Gertrude Stein. She focuses primarily on methods and themes, then discusses examples of their technique.

Unfortunately, the class sounds like it gets more and more riled as she covers each artist: Duchamp, Tzara, Stein all are met by the class' apparent annoyance, or at least ennui, as though the experimental methods are "quaint" or "old-fashioned." One student makes a comment regaring one Dada concept that "masterpieces ought to be destroyed": the student replies something to the effect that we wouldn't miss much if the Dadaists had taken their own advice.

Would've been a more interesting class if Mayer had engaged the students' seeming dislike of the writers/subjects she was discussing. Stein continues to be a touchstone writer for many contemporary authors, and many of the Dadaists' methods were and are used by recent artists. Mention of Burroughs' or MacLow's cut-up/aleatory techniques maybe would have brought the topic more currency with these people? Hard to tell: 1978 was still just pre-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, the grandchild of DADA/Steinian techniques.

Sound quality is okay, but you can't hear most of the students' questions/comments/griping, so the lecture is weighted toward's Mayer's voice.
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